Biden goes nuclear to target opponents of chemical castrations

The Biden administration has gone nuclear in the culture wars by launching an attack on the First Amendment rights of Americans daring to challenge the far left’s transgender agenda, two new court filings from Wednesday reveal.

On Wednesday, attorneys representing the Eagle Forum of Alabama and the Southeast Law Institute filed two separate motions to quash documents subpoenaed by the United States as part of the discovery in the ongoing case of Eknes-Tucker versus Marshall. In Eknes Tuckerfour children identifying as transgender, their parents and several others have sued the governor of Alabama and other state officials, challenging the constitutionality of the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (“Vulnerable Child Act” ).

Signed into law by the Governor of Alabama on April 8, 2022, the Vulnerable Child Act prohibits the administration of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or surgical procedures performed on minors “if the practice is performed for the purpose to attempt to modify the appearance of or affirm the perception that the minor has of his gender or his sex, if this appearance or perception is incompatible with the sex of the minor.

The complainants in Eknes Tucker argue that the Vulnerable Children Act violates the constitutional right of parents to obtain medical treatment for their children and the equal protection rights of transgender minors. The United States joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff, also arguing that the Alabama law violates the federal Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

In May, Federal Judge Liles Burke, a Donald Trump appointee, issued a preliminary injunction barring Alabama from enforcing parts of the law that prohibit the use of puberty blockers and erroneous sex hormones. . Alabama appealed the preliminary injunction order to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the federal appeals court has scheduled an interim hearing for the week of November 14, 2022.

While Alabama’s appeal of the preliminary injunction order remains pending at the 11th Circuit, discovery is pending at the trial court level. And as part of that discovery, the United States government, in what appears to be a unique move, has subpoenaed dozens of documents from at least two nonprofit groups involved in lobbying for passage of the vulnerable child. Act, namely the Eagle Forum and the Southwest Law Institute.

In its motion to quash the government subpoena, the Eagle Forum, which is not a party to the Eknes Tucker case, explained that it “is a local Alabama nonprofit corporation dedicated to the cause of protecting Alabama families in public policy initiatives and reform efforts.” Designated as a 501(c)(4) organization, it has only one full-time paid employee and one part-time paid administrative assistant, with nearly all nonprofit work done by volunteers.

According to its brief, the Eagle Forum became gravely concerned about the provision of sexist medical treatment to minors in Alabama and worked to ban these harmful procedures permanently. Over the course of several years, the Eagles Forum has pursued this goal by giving speeches to various groups, communicating with members of the Alabama legislature, informing its members of issues, and encouraging its members to contact their legislators at this topic, “joining other grassroots organizations with similar concerns in these efforts, helping to draft possible legislation for consideration by sponsoring lawmakers, and organizing witnesses who may testify at legislative committee hearings.

In the subpoena issued for the Eagle Forum in August, the United States demanded that the nonprofit produce 11 broad categories of informational materials, spanning from January 1, 2017 to the present day. Broadly, the subpoena sought documents revealing the Eagle Forum’s efforts to press for passage of the Vulnerable Children Act, including communications with members and lawmakers.

The government also issued a subpoena to the Southeast Law Institute, requesting the same types of documents. The Southeast Law Institute, like the Eagle Forum, is a non-profit organization and is not a party to the underlying case. The nonprofit is a 501(c)(3) “dedicated to providing free legal services on matters of the sanctity of life, religious freedom, family and other issues,” according to its brief. . The Southeast Law Institute further notes that it has no employees and uses the services of pro bono attorneys.

One of its pro bono attorneys, A. Eric Johnston, “provided assistance with drafting bills and legal research” during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 sessions of the Alabama Legislature. “These efforts,” explained the Southeast Law Institute, “include[ed] discussions with Margaret Clark, general counsel of the Eagle Forum of Alabama, other lawyers and legislators.

In seeking to overturn the subpoenas, the Eagle Forum and the Southeast Law Institute argue that their communications with Alabama lawmakers are irrelevant to the question of the constitutionality of the Vulnerable Child Act because the precedent clearly shows that the intention of a legislator in passing a law is not to render it unconstitutional. So what Eagle Forum and Southeast Law have said to each other, to their members, and to lobbying lawmakers, is irrelevant.

The Eagle Forum and the Southeast Law Institute further argue that the subpoena infringes on their First Amendment rights. Here too, the non-profit organizations are right.

The First Amendment protects the right to speak, associate and assemble, and petition the government. And requiring communications from private nonprofits involved in lobbying will dampen the public’s desire to speak, join, petition and lobby, and the court should quash the subpoenas accordingly.

But overturning the subpoenas is not enough: the Biden administration must be reprimanded for this outrageous tactic that serves no other purpose than to intimidate and silence its political enemies.


Margot Cleveland is the senior legal correspondent for The Federalist. She also contributes to National Review Online, The Washington Examiner, Aleteia and Townhall.com, and has been published in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where she won the Hoynes Award, the law school’s highest honor. She then served for nearly 25 years as staff law clerk for a federal appeals judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time faculty member at the university and now teaches as an occasional adjunct. As a homeschooled mother of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland writes frequently on cultural issues related to parenting and children with special needs. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The opinions expressed herein are those of Cleveland in their private capacity.

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